Help Getting Wood – USA

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #683368
    Ben Fisher
    Participant

    I’m a newbie / beginner in Midwest USA. Where can I find wood to buy? Seems like flat sawn is normally what Paul recommends, stating quarter sawn isn’t needed but rough sawn is a bit too much extra work. I’ve called a bunch of places and so far I’ve found: don’t carry any softwoods, only rough sawn, don’t sell to individuals, and carry only building materials construction stuff. Trying to stay machine free of course but this part of my journey, and figuring out what construction lumber to buy for Paul’s workbench and how to prep it, has been the hardest part by far, way more so then l than learning tools and sharpening.

    - Ben

    #683417
    Mike Goodwin
    Participant

    For softwoods your best bet is the big box stores. Most carry varying grades of pine in 3/4″ stock. For Mr. Sellers bench design, Douglas fir 2×4’s and/or southern yellow pine (best picked up as 2×10’s/12’s and dimensioned down) works fine. Stay away from the white wood, it’s just to soft. Just follow Mr. Sellers video’s for how to prep.

    For hardwoods, look specifically for hardwood dealers, not lumber yards, and be prepared to to drive a fair distance, 75 miles +, for one that sells to the general public, if you don’t live in or close to a large city. Most big cities will have a couple that sell to the general public. Menard’s, Lowe’s, Home Depot all sell some some hardwood and it will be planed (locally, Mid-Missouri, Menard’s has the best selection). You will pay significantly more for the hardwood wood in the big box stores and quality can be questionable.

    #683418
    tcurtis
    Participant

    Hi Ben; I’ve been struggling with much the same issue. Although I’m in the northwest, where I’m located is semi-remote from the big lumber mills. So far for me, I’ve had to use big box store common wood and laminate it to get the pieces I want. I am experimenting with buying 16 foot 2x12s from the big box stores. I ask them to cut them into 8 foot lengths so I can manage them better. Then, using a table saw, I cut the center pith out of the 2x12s. My experiment is not finished yet as I’m waiting on the wood to dry better. So far the results have been promising, i.e., little warpage or twist. And yes, I am jealous of the folks east of the Rocky Mountains that have access to southern yellow pine. Although douglas fir is a great building material, I find it difficult to work with for furniture. Other’s ideas are most welcome. Hope this helps 🙂

    #683426
    Ben Fisher
    Participant

    I tried southern yellow pine a couple years ago and failed and it had to be the twistiest, warpiest thing on the planet. Clear Douglas fir should be much denser compared Eastern white too which is really soft. Consider that in the US the construction industry has destroyed old growth Eastern white pine. It probably was once close to the stuff in the UK maybe not as good as Scott’s red but close at one time.

    - Ben

    #683428
    sanford
    Participant

    Hi tcurtis, I am curious where you live in the northwest. I am in the Northern Rockies (Bozeman MT). Besides Home Depot and Lowes, we have a pretty decent supplier of hardwoods just outside of town. They are happy to let folk like me paw through their supply too. I know there are dealers in other Montana cities (or what passes for cities in Montana) around the state, though I do not know whether they are as amateur woodworker friendly as our local place. None of this wood is local of course. Montana is not known for hardwoods.

    One thought for those having trouble finding wood. I regularly scan craigslist under that Materials heading. Wood does appear there. Some is from dealers, say, those who bring in quantities from the East and do not want the expense of a store front. But I have also made a few real killings from woodworkers who just want to get rid of wood either because they have given up woodworking or just have too much. One guy was getting rid of cherry, walnut and hard maple because he needed the space in his garage for a rather large boat! Just keep checking every few days.

    #691004
    Cunha
    Participant

    If you are making a workbench, construction lumber is fine. I have bought from lumber/building supplies and have found the quality of the Douglas Fir to be much better than HD or Lowes. The growth rings are much tighter, at least double per inch.

    If you are buying hardwoods or non construction softwood like pine that will be another dealer. Business has been tough for them and my area has lost most of them. If you do find one and they have good product it is worth supporting them. A dealer like that may also deal in nicer plywood like cherry or baltic birch for cabinet work.

    With the pandemic, with food suppliers, the business side of their sales dried up while hobby and individuals increased. Our meat guy makes a weekly run to our town an hour from his farm for individual orders because his restaurants aren’t buying. The same phenomena may be happening for wood. If someone can take a phone order and either put it aside for you to collect or deliver to your house it could be a way for them to stay afloat. Some of the suppliers may have a different outlook on retail sales now.

    There have to be other woodworkers near you. Try finding a local club or organization that may have ads or links for wood suppliers. Home center wood is only so good and tends to be expensive.

    Good luck, it’s a great hobby.

    #701947
    Kjord
    Participant

    Not sure where in the Midwest you are, but we are blessed with lots of local oak, walnut, and generally other hardwoods are very available also. One of the responders said not to use lumber yards, but some are ideal sources. Here in Kansas Schutte Lumber is an institution. Do a local search, you may well find sawmills in your vicinity. Here in Kansas City Urban Lumber recycles trees from the metro area, L&K Hardwoods and Tom the Sawyer are other regional sources. There are many of these small sawmill operations in the midwest.

    #701966
    MarkME
    Participant

    Hi Sanford: I live in NE US but have a Bozeman connection who would like to find good wood for furniture making. What is the name of the supplier you use?
    Thanks.
    Mark

    #702032
    sanford
    Participant

    Hi Mark. Sorry I did not notice your question. I go to Intermountain in Belgrade Montana just outside of Bozeman. They are not cheap, but nor are they ridiculously expensive. Since Montana has little in the way of native hardwoods (but all the spruce, fir and lodgepole pine you could possibly want) hardwoods are usually brought in from far away. I know there are some other dealers elsewhere in Montana which might be better (I seem to remember there is one in Helena, and one in Missoula, and maybe one in Billings) but they are pretty far away and hardly worth the drive unless you are buying a lot of wood,

    #702037
    MarkME
    Participant

    Thanks for the very prompt and helpful reply. My Bozeman connection goes regularly to Belgrade and less often to Billings and Helena. He’ll be very grateful for the info — as will I when I visit. Thanks again.

    #702045
    deanbecker
    Participant

    I think its winsor plywood that is in great falls. And i know of two in billings but havnt bought from either. The belgrade one sounds like a good source. Woodworkersupply in phoenix ships 10&20 bd ft packs west of the mississippi ups and east of it for 20$ flat rate. Pretty good stuff there. A little pricy but so is everything.

    #702050
    MarkME
    Participant

    Dean — thanks for this additional information and sources. Mark

    #702051
    MarkME
    Participant

    Dean again: I know there is a gentleman with a sawmill in Billings but nhe specifically says he does not cut/sell dimensioned lumber: all slabs, though of varyting sizes that could be worked down further. What are the names of the places you know? Thanks. Mark

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